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tv   Medias History Influence  CSPAN  January 6, 2013 12:40am-2:00am EST

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vali nasr, you are next. >> i take his cautions and warnings quite seriously. a very important and stark choice faces us and will face the new american administration going forward. we think of the biggest issue in the middle east being iran him only because it is a dictatorial regime that is abusing its population. it is taunting israel and its neighbors and supports terrorism. when we think about decisions about iran, we also have to know that every decision has a context. the context of the following, that iran is not the only issue in the region. we are seeing a middle east that is falling apart all across the board. from tunisia, libya, egypt, bahrain, it is becoming
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unstable. we are seeing extremism. we are seeing a major shift in this region. we are not dealing with iran in a vacuum. the decisions we make have to be decisions for the region. we are dealing with a united states that is tired of war. it has not gone well in the two big wars it conducted in the middle east. it spent trillions of dollars, a lot of mud and -- blood and treasure. it is very clear that the americans are more interested in nationbuilding at home. these are important context to bear in mind. hopefully the iranian regime will change. hopefully, the administration will take diplomacy very seriously. or that sanctions really change
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the koran and governments mind and they change course -- the iranian government's mind and they change course. it is quite likely and possible that iran may go nuclear before any of these things take effect. before sanctions, as rigorous as they are, produce a result, or before there is a democracy movement. then, we are really left with two choices. we either find a way to contain and share a nuclear iran, or we go to war with it. if we go to war, then we have to be prepared for what that war would entail. it may very well be far more costly and far more destabilizing to the region than the wars in iraq and afghanistan war. the shiite sunni war with our
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doing. it is another war that is equally intolerable. thank you. [applause] >> charles krauthammer, you have three minutes on the clock and the final word. >> so little time. i would address two points. yes, i believe in every word i wrote about deterrence in 1984, dealing with the us and the soviet union, and it remains true today. but the idea that some technique like deterrence, because it worked in one context will always work, is mindless. i would say to my friend, f areed, wake up to the reality that israel-iran is not us-
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soviet. unlike the atheistic regime in the soviet union, iran has an apocalyptic idea of history. it sees itself as the instrument of that. wake up to the idea that in the 70 years of the soviet union, they never sent out a suicide bomber. for iran, martyrdom is the royal road to heaven. wake up to the idea that were fighting around the world, you love life, we love death. try deterring that. wake up to the idea that the nature of the dispute is completely different. russia was an ideological contest with united states. it never sought to wipe it off the map. iran believes that the existence of israel is a crime against humanity that it has to cure. lastly, wake up to the idea that the iranians themselves have
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told us what a intend in a nuclear exchange. again, the president said, the application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in israel. the same thing would just produce damages in the muslim world. in other words, israel would forever and instantly be wiped off the map, whereas the muslim nation of 1.8 billion people would indoor with some damage. endure with some damage. y that itssly applie worked in the past, it will work in the future is unwarranted. we are assured by the other side that deterrence will work. they do not know, and we do not know if it will work or not.
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imagine the risk if they are wrong. 6 million jews are dead. the eradication of israel. hyper proliferation in the middle east and iranian domination of the middle east and the oil economy of the world. do any of you want to live with that? thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, it is clear why people have called this debate one of the toughest global foreign-policy challenges of a generation. the have had to sharply contrasting arguments tonight, eloquently presented by both of these debaters. a big round of applause for all of them. [applause]well done.
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let me reiterate something that peter said at the debates in the past. it is different to come in front of an informed audience to make your case with passion and conviction. the question in front of all of us is, which of these two teams of debaters has been able to sway public opinion in this hall? i am glad i do not have a ballot. i think it is going to be a tough vote. he for we make that second vote, let's quickly remember where public opinion was at in the fall, at the commencement of tonight's debate. let's have those results up on the screen, the percentages of those who supported the resolution. 60%, undecided was 33%. the next slide, the number of you who could potentially change your vote.
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this debate is very much in play as you go to check off your second ballot. we will announce the result in the lobby before 9:00 pm . because this is our 10th semiannual debate, a glade -- a great accomplishment. we have included a complementary drinks ticket. enjoy responsibly, but have one on us in the lobby. we will gather together shortly before 9:00 with the results of the second audience vote. thank you again for coming, it was a great debate. [applause]
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>> next, a discussion about the influence of the media. after that, the weekly addresses by president obama and michigan, x-men dave camp. -- michigan congressman dave camp. then the british arms export policy. tomorrow on "washington journal", discussion with john feehery and jim manley. then a look at the perks of congressional service with daniel shuman.
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and a discussion about president obama's foreign-policy agenda. "washington journal " live at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. >> the big discussion that i remember was, what is richard nixon going to do? >> i remember going home that night, scared to death. this is like a time bomb. if this thing gets into the press, it is a disaster for all of us. >> he came to me and said, the presidents council has just brought me a list of 50 names of people. he wants a full field investigation. that is a very unpleasant thing to have happened to you. >> it was shortly after the farewell speech. i cannot remember exactly what he said. he said, we forgot a resignation letter.
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i will be interested in reading it. he said, you do not get it. you need to write it. >> i thought the best way was not for me, as a historian. i thought it was for the players, the key people living to tellt area =--- era that story themselves. i thought the best way would be to start a video program that would involve the nixon players, but also players in the watergate drama, from the left and the right, to have them tell the story. and to use portions of that story in the museum, to let visitors understand the complexity of this constitutional drama. >> the former head of the nixon presidential library and museum, timothy nattali, discusses the museum's oral history project. >> rooks gladstone is host of
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the show go on the media." -- the show "on the media." this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> our moderator tonight is a professor of media studies at fordham university. he is the author of four books on cultural programming. for 15 years he was the head of special projects at the directors guild. he frequently moderates events around the city for have to, the screen actors guild, the producers guild, the academy of motion picture arts and sciences, and for us. he's welcome brian rose. rose.ase welcome brian [applause]next, we could not be more honored or delighted to have brooke gladstone with us tonight. she is the cohost of npr's "on
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the media." it also wrote a very entertaining book called "the influencing machine." we will be doing a signing of her book, it's just came out. she has been at npr for many years. including a three-year stint in moscow where she covered the last years of president boris yeltsin's term. i know that all of you diehard o the media" groupies will tell you that there is something about brooke that pulls you in. ira glass, host of this american life, put it right when he wrote, just like welcome gladwell, michael pollan, and michael lewis, brooke can take
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any subject, even something you do not give a damn about, and make it of interest. please welcome two-time peabody award winner brooke gladstone. [applause]>> thank you, catherine. thank you, brooke, for coming tonight. i would like to start with your book. you talk about a number of media biases. one of favorites is the narrative bias. that the media takes a story, no matter what it is, they have to come up with a beginning, a middle, and an end. we have just gone through an election in which there were thousands of just such recorded events. i am wondering, do you think we have a lot when presidential
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elections are treated as a four- year heavyweight battle to the death? beginning the day after the less election is held -- last election is held. >> we miss something. i do not completely condemn horserace coverage. that is a big part of the story. the problem is, what isn't covered. one gets completely fixated on the gaffs. who said this, how did that have an impact, some of these are really quite revealing. even those, i cannot entirely condemn. you have your 47% remark, which anyone would argue could possibly be extremely revelatory. he said he did not mean it, then later, after the election, pretty much said the same thing again, speaking about governor romney.
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it did tell us a lot. it had a great impact. at least for a while, the poor first debate performance. this is part and parcel of american life, part of democracy. the problem is, we are wired for narrative. we like stories. we organize our information in the form of stories. there are lots of breaking news items that do not let themselves to narratives. but we have to use it anyway. it is part of what is wired in to the way that we organize and interpret information. it is wired into the business of journalism. for instance, discussions of tax policy. obamacare and so forth. it is just antithetical news to keep reporting the same thing over and over again, every time somebody this represents it.
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>> speaking of the election, how would you characterize the way the press handled this election, compared to other elections you covered? >> they all suck, let's face it. i cannot remember a single election where i went, wow, that was a truly satisfying experience. on the other hand, i have been criticizing and analyzing the media for the last four elections, at least. so, i and there, looking for it, waiting for it. there it is. so it goes on election cycle after election cycle. >> your show itself played a role in covering the election so extensively. you, yourself, faced one of you faced one of the great media john sununu. i wonder if you can share what it was like.
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>> it was one of the most contentious interviews i have ever done. just a truly train wreck sounding interview. when he said, when i questioned one of his remarks, he said york public radio, you are just there to kiss the president's butt. public radio is always so civil. a way, it is kind of refreshing. here he is, here is the guy unvarnished. it was very edited. i never edit to win the argument. but he was who he was.
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i thought it was really useful, even though i was -- all the way through it. >> you bring up the notion of npr, and why are npr and pbs such a target for people like sununu or romney? particularly where fairness and of the activity seemed to be so rigid why are you such a target for people who you would think would embrace fairness and objectivity? >> who would that be? >> why is big bird such an enemy? >> it is not big bird.
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big bird is the savior. every administration has collided with npr and complained about it, republican and democratic. it is only republicans that want to zero out the budget. the only thing that comes back every time is a big bird. he is invincible. he just slices right through the opposition. why public radio and public television is such a target is, public radio is increasing, and 10% of public radio's money comes from the government. that money were not there, if they did not have the taxpayer banner to wait, that would not have a case to make. we would just be anybody else that they dislike. it is not as if the new york times has not been singled out over and over again as well.
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it has been 30 years of this notion that mainstream media reports in a liberally biased way. a lot of people feel ill served by mainstream media. there was one completely dead form of media that was single- handedly resurrected by rush limbaugh, and that was a.m. radio. it was a place people unserved by mainstream media could go and be angry. i watched fox news almost exclusively on election night. >> who didn't?
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>> i wanted to see how they covered it. shepherd smith was a very fair guy. it was more diverse than msnbc by far. you had the great moment when karl rove produced that primal scream and you saw flocks trying very hard to address this in a clear and open way as they could. i understand that roger ailes, the head of fox news said to his staff before the election, it looks like obama is winning. don't act like somebody ran over your dog. some did, but mostly they didn't. >> we live in an age now where
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this is possible to be sealed away from it be that does not agree with your own. is it really that different from the way the press used to behave? we live in an age of cable news network. is it now possible for one point of view it ever really except another point of view? view?cept abonother point of >> you are right about history. a big part of my book recounts the history of journalism from the invention of the written word to the year 2042. what i find is over and over
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again that golden period that so many people refer to is basically a golden age of media. contrary to media trends of the media getting cheaper and cheaper, there with the creation of a medium that was slightly more essential. required assembling enormous audiences, and how do you do that? it marginalizes outsiders and appeals to a broad middle. if you want to watch television, you will have to find yourself identifying with that great middle, no matter that your life has nothing to do with the life that beaver cleaver lead. that is on television.
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there are a lot of people that who are not otherwise represented, people with all different colors, immigrants who never saw themselves on television who were forced, more or less, to subscribe to this great middle. likewise, at the time that television was being created, television newscasts were being created, the government was in the midst of a political moment that was far off existentially. it created the style of objectivity, which basically was leaving stuff out and creating a big, central point of view. that made everybody happy, especially the government's that would like to see television regulated. to get back to your question
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about can we ever find voices that reflect the views with which we don't agree? of course we can, if we want to. there is a study that was done at harvard that found that people who worked incredibly well informed before the internet were even more informed after the internet. and people who were not interested in news before the internet where now even less informed after the internet. it just shows what i have always believed, and what i think all the evidence bears out. the new technology just makes me more of what we were going to be anyway. if you are naturally curious, and you are willing to venture out of your comfort zone, the environment is so rich.
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>> by the same token, people who might be liberals or conservatives do at least have an enemy they can identify with, which was not always possible in the age of walter cronkite. with one solo voice. >> that had enemies, they just were not on television. when you think about it, consider walter cronkite, known to many in the day as uncle walter. it would be ludicrous to call any newscaster a relative today. can you imagine anybody trying to get away with a presumptuous statement like "and that's the way it is." everybody craved the comfort of that dinnertime slice of
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consensus reality. i think that the more media do you think cable tv and that that kind of comfort? >> i think that the more media sources you have dividing up the audience, the smaller the public square becomes. less consensus, but you are exchanging that comfort for the comfort of knowing that there are other people like you in the world who care about the things that you care about. i am always in favor of more speech, rather than less, even though everything has a side effect. >> speaking of more speech, a lot of cities in the country, cleveland is next to be the target, or facing the prospect of having their local newspapers disappear.
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i think going to three days a week is the same as disappearing. it is only a matter of time before they say, do we even need three days a week. what do you think the impact will be when there is no longer any central voice of a particular locale? >> one study found that the biggest black that the new media era has created is local accountability. there are some of blogs that have tried to rise to the occasion. certainly that is true in denver. there is a database, public online site. partners with local television and everyone else. i think you will see a lot of
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partnerships coming up to fill that gap eventually. the public has to value it. it is really up to the public to value all these things. everybody says you cannot monetize online. everybody has viewed the information for free. when i was a kid, i was used to tv being free. you get used to paying for things once you realize how much they matter to you. i also found that people love their gadgets and they will pay for content on their gadgets that they will not necessarily pay for on the internet. they love to have the special apps on the phone to make the consumption of information very convenient. there are pay walls that never worked before that are working better now. there is the old italian communist wrote in his prison
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diaries that famous statement, the old world is dead, the new world is yet to be born, and in between there is much morbidity. welcome to morbidity, folks. >> your book devotes a considerable amount of time to talking about the development of objective reporting, fairness in journalism. i am sure a number of people in this room undoubtedly hope to follow in your footsteps and become a journalist. i wonder if you could talk about what you think are the major challenges they will be confronting in terms of trying to practice serious, unbiased
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reporting. >> unbiased, objective, fair, they are all slightly different. i think that the obligation of the journalist is to tell the whole truth, and to tell both sides barely, not to be invisible or pretend to belong to some order of passionless beat that does not really care. that you cannot bring any judgment you have accrued to that experience into your reporting. i think that we are entering a period of more reflective reporting. some of the greatest reporting america has ever seen was done by muckrakers. ida tarbell and exposing standard oil. these amazing investigative enterprises that did so much to expose what was wrong in the country.
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i think that the golden age, which is a misnomer, has passed. and i think that anybody wants to be a journalist today should not try and follow days of your, working in the mail room. anybody who wants to be a journalist in the next generation needs to find something they care about, and develop expertise, and then go there and start writing about it. i first encountered a new york times writer when he was doing little blog about people dating, which everyone in the industry was looking at. did anybody know that he was 16 or 17? he came to the office for an interview and i said, are you old enough to do this? he said next year.
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need i mention nate silver, who has become a byword? he had expertise in an area that was filled with guesswork. it served journalism. he came in and fill this need and i think by any terms, he is doing great. he is a household word. those are just two examples of people who were passionate and
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knowledgeable and found their way into an area that people were not following. it was extraordinarily, these are the people you should be looking to, not me. my path was weird and cannot be followed. >> let's open it up to questions from the audience. when you come to the microphone, please give us your name and where you go to school. if anyone would like to come up. here is our first inquire. he is adjusting it. until someone gets the courage up, you mentioned nate silver.
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he offers the fascinating thesis that it is that talking heads on all the cable channels are the ones who are constantly predicting things that, believe it or not, have the worst prognostication records. >> he said that the amount of minutes you are on television are inversely proportionate to the accuracy of your predictions. >> i listen to your show every sunday afternoon. i want to know, i saw on your web site that you went through an independent bookseller. i am wondering about the role of amazon in the book industry and how it is hurting it.
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>> actually, norton bought the book. they wanted it. i was delighted that they did. we were proceeding along very well. it is owned by time warner, and they came in and said by the way, we own all rights to it. we can do what we want with it without any input. it started as a graphic novel, which i shifted to a nonfiction when i discovered i did not know how to plot any thing. if warner brothers just wanted to buy it and do anything they wanted with it, i would have done that. but they could not go in and change 30 years of work and my conclusions, so i just took the
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whole project and walked away. norton is an employee-owned house, but that was just serendipity. >> you have done many shows on the decline of global media. i know you have tackled the music industry. given the fact that you have grown up with the media, doesn't give you a sense of regret that so many of these empires are toppling, or does the expectation of new media, which cover extensively on your program, fill you with the sense that this is all for the good? >> in the book, i quote the late, great douglas adams. he says that any kind of technology that was around when
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you were born is right and natural. is in the natural order of things. anything that comes along and around the age of 35 is fascinating and exciting and brilliant. anything that comes along after that is best to civilization and is going to destroy humanity as we know it. i think i am very lucky in having the job that i do, because i don't have the leisure to be incredibly blessed doubt it for my childhood. that was a world that i was not part of an was unlikely to ever be a part of. the kind of coverage that we get from anybody with a cell phone, all over the world, sullivan unreliable, is still astonishing and necessary. you brought up the arab spring.
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it brought up real-life coverage of hurricane sandy. it is everywhere we need to be, to paraphrase some advertisement or other. it is a great, wonderful new world. the big difference is that you as the news consumer have to do the work they did not have to do before. you have to choose your pension plan, your healthcare plan, paper or plastic. you have everything thrown in your lap, and maybe most important is the information you choose to consume. you are what you eat. if you eat nothing but chocolate pudding your entire life, then you can venture out there and
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vary your diet. it is all there. there are so many times when i have spoken in public forums and people will say, why are the media not covering x? how did you find out about that? it was on page 6, but they thought it should be on page one. the media you consume are not reflecting your priorities. they are run by people. if you go straight to google news, you can have an algorithm doing that search for you. i think you just have to swallow hard, do a lot, and realize this is all up to you now. i am not startling for the world that was at all. >> that task of leaving it up to
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you can be kind of frightening. >> you have to find people you can trust. when you watch cbs or it read the new york times, those were your aggregators. it is not about "here is what i had for breakfast today." it is about "this person is incredible." they send me links from across the media and show me stories that i would not otherwise know. i have to say that i have my own twitter feed. >> how many do you follow?
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>> i am a bit bifurcated. on the media calligraphy, i read avidly but rarely contributed to. they are the best aggregators that i have encountered of media stuff. that is just one. you find the people that you love and follow them, or website that you can subscribe to on twitter. to address another issue which is really critical, when you are talking about breaking out of your shell, in the parlance of our computer age, there's something called serendipity, which is accidental encounters with information that you would
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not. there are websites that are basically serendipity engines. they can connect you to stories that are fascinating, but you would never know. it is not impossible to find out this stuff. you just go there and you can create a live and rich array of information coming directly to you. you just have to build it. >> do you fear for the day when inevitably the new york times disappears? >> i don't think it is going to disappear. i really don't. i make this prediction before. i think that the new york times will become a boutique item that rich people get. for instance, you subscribe to the sunday new york times because you love the feel of newsprint on your hands and you love the magazine, the book review, and so on.
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you have a ritual and you pay for it. and you pay a lot for it. you already pay a lot for the new york times. it is expensive. but ultimately, the paper will be for people who want paper, and the information will be on- line and available through the various pay walz they are creating. >> i am a freelance journalist. you were talking about abrogating and curating. i started off as a writer/reporter. the thing that strikes me is that when you talk about the new york times, the one thing i found is that quality costs money. there is a lot of crap out there. >> tell me about it. [laughter]
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>> my question to give is, where is the money going to come from to finance quality journalism? it is a combination of the heavy stuff as well as up and coming stuff. but where is the money going to come from? >> it is a deep question, the question that everybody asks. the new york times has created a partial pay wall. it is actually doing pretty well now. perhaps the new york times and daily newspapers in general, they used to be one-stop shops. you had your movie reviews. you had a whole bunch of sections that could be done elsewhere and you did not need to have the local paper do it. it could also argue, there is new york sensibility, new york movie reviewers could have a
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different perspective that would be different from the cincinnati movie reviewer, perhaps. if there were, which there probably are not. but ultimately, newspapers have been mulling over the idea of becoming nonprofit. the trouble is that in order to be a non-profit, you are really cannot make a profit. they are having trouble getting around this. like the l.a. times got a big foundation grant. there will little bit of consternation in public radio circles about it. the point here is that the l.a. times can put its money in different subject. but they can get ford to come in
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and pay for local coverage or whatever public service coverage the money is going to be posturing, then it can put his money and other things. why are you not putting your money in the stuff that really matters? i think the foundations are understanding that these are valuable institutions and they need to be supported. partnerships, foundation grants, people talk about the project for public integrity in places like that that are funded by foundations or private individuals that are very public spirited. then they go and partner with the new york times or the washington post or the new yorker to get that information out. it is my understanding that the new yorker does not pay for a
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lot of the articles, they just provide the space. they are not just handing off their space, but there is, good reporting that is coming through these partnerships. that is part of where the money will come from. it is true that ultimately, people will have to, once again, pay for content, and publishers always prefer when their readers or consumers pay with their eyeballs. they find it the advertisers easier to deal with than consumers who want this and that. there have been magazines with hundreds of thousands of subscribers that have gone out of business because their ad rates have disappeared. their audiences would have paid more, but they thought it was too much of a headache.
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there is much to be done to educate the older generation of publishers to understand that they will have to engage on every level with their audiences in the next phase. >> my name is jeff roberts, former broadcast journalist. winston churchill famously said democracy is the worst possible form of government. i am curious what country you think might be doing a better job in disseminating news through the mass media where it is not as hysterical, not as pointed as our news coverage is. does anybody do it better, or is this just the way it is in free society? i hope you don't say great britain. >> i think this is the way it is. if you go to europe, you will find that they did not seem to go through this golden age.
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the big newspapers there are not owned by parties, they are affiliated with parties in their ideology. the editorial page and the news pages will work together to report stories, where you are we have this great fire wall between the editorial pages and the news pages. i do think this is the worst possible media except for all the others. >> so there is no place like home. >> i think danish media is probably fantastic.[laughter] >> the german news media is not owned by the parties.
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the real difference is that their newspapers are family- owned, they are not publicly traded. even a family-owned newspaper still wants to make some money. the publisher wants to keep his family alive. i used to be skeptical about family-owned newspapers. but they are a lot better. >> it really depends on the family. german newspapers are very much falling to the right wing, left wing, center cast. we know there will be orientations to those newspapers.
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most of our newspapers are pretty centrist. in terms of families, you have hearst and pulitzer, who built great dynasties but did not always do the best journalism. the family-owned papers were motivated differently, but they were not necessarily better. i am not speaking in favor of -- i worry about corporate owned media but as they don't care so much about the enterprise of journalism. the greatest opponent of journalism today is rupert murdoch. he bought the wall street journal, not to be rich. his papers are the tiniest part of his media empire.
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the wall street journal was unlike the post. some people said when he goes with his friends in the war room, now he does not just on the new york post, he owns the wall street journal. rupert murdoch is a good example of somebody who really cares about the bottom line. he was perfectly willing to make deals with tony blair. he tried to make deals with hillary clinton. to extract promises from blair on regulations, and and newspapers have had a much bigger impact in great britain than they have here. his entertainment property, fox television, offered something the public wanted and did not
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get from basic television all those years ago. the simpsons, if anybody can remember when the simpson started, just created howls of anguish from the guardians of family and value people, who thought it was just a disaster. married with children? please. this is stuff that people wanted to consume, but it was not conservative stuff. "the simpsons" always make fun show. newxs on its own for him in was about the bottom line for most of his properties. family is no assurance of great journalism, but i do think it is and assurance that people care
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about the enterprise of producing content. >> you work for national public radio. >> just for the record, i worked for wnyc. produces this show. >> wnyc is a radio program. >> yeah. the biggest one. >> i encountered this fact with my generation of students that radio is simply not on the menu anymore as something that anybody listens to work, regrettably, has even heard of. despite what happened with hurricane sandy, what do you see as the future of radio? >> is radio dead?
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they have been saying that since at least 1950. i have about a million listeners on my boutique radio show. that is compared to colbert's 3 million. the morning edition has 30 million listeners. it has begun to level of dust in the last couple of years. during the time when all other mainstream media was plummeting, npr was just moving up, up, up. npr the network has had some trouble shifting to digital, although they have done a good job in recent years, because they have member stations. the numbers tell a different story from your students.
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it is true that we don't have the youngest audience in the world, but apparently we have something like 20% of every age group. however, there is going to be a migration. i think an enormous number of people in new york listen on podcast. that is where the younger audience seems to be coming from. they have not figured out how to count them in the ratings, so they do not show up. >> you mentioned that you want people to subscribe on itunes. >> we offer more material on the podcast frequently.
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we want people to get comfortable, to fit us into their schedule, rather than to subscribe to our schedule. if it shows up on their ipod, they will be more likely to listen to it than if they slept through one of the broadcast. we understand that our schedule is growing increasingly irrelevant. our show is produced and goes out on a satellite on a friday night. it is on our website on friday night. the pressure is on friday night. by the time it gets to sunday, we have worked very hard to make sure nothing goes out of date. i would prefer people to get it hot off the presses. we plan to offer more material on podcast.
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there is a lot of competition out there, right? ah more questions? do you want to know what nina totenberg is really like? [laughter] i have not added to the person is probably 1991. i remember that i was allowed two edits. if you are going to ask me to do that, i might as well just throw it out and start all over again. i love you, nina. you are brilliantly talented. >> what is the difference in
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your mind between journalism and the media or the press, if any? >> journalism is what you do, and the media and the press are where you do it. journalism is like cooking and the media, whatever medium you choose, is like the restaurant. it is how you serve it up. what you do changes, depending on what medium you produce it for. some media are much better suited to different kinds of journalism. >> with the medium of the
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internet and social media, the role of journalism in regard to bloggers and blogs, how reliable can they be? >> i see your point. i believe, and this is my definition, that journalism is something you do according to a set of standards and with a particular focus in mind. you can convey really good information for any number of people, but a lot of people who were covering the arab spring were providing vital, important information, because they wanted the world to know, because in just this was happening before their eyes. i am not in any way impugning their information.
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in egypt, the mainstream media did a lousy job for decades before and up through the covering of tahrir square. it was bloggers and activists that offered a true picture of what was going on. it has to do with motivation and a set of standards. if you are doing journalism, you want to be accurate and fair. if you are doing propaganda, or activism, being accurate and fair could be part of it or not part of it, but you are doing because you want to assess the events in a very real way. i don't pretend that journalists don't want to have any impact. why would you devote your life to something that is irrelevant in the way the world works?
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it is fussy. i feel like i was not as clear as i should have been. i need to formulate that a little better. >> i am a fordham graduate and now i work in publishing. my question is, in the beginning of the q&a, you mentioned that your advice to young people was to find out what you are passionate about, go out and be an expert, and then write about that. i wonder how that relates to what you do, that if there is a niche in the media that you particularly enjoy reporting about. is there one interview you did that stands out as your favorite? >> i was happy with our first interview last week. that is the one that is in my
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mind right now. the green revolution, people took to the streets in iran and a woman was tragically shot and killed. the video of her death went all around the world and became a symbol of revolution. it was a tremendous, mobilizing force. the world media wanted to put a face to this woman we saw dying from a distance. they picked the picture of her facebook page -- someone who looked a lot like her. the experience, she tried to correct it and was ignored by cnn and voice of america.
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every news outlet around the world published the picture. the revolutionaries accused per of trying to steal the symbol of their darling, their hero, a person that was doing so much to mobilize the revolution. then the iranian government came in and said i want you to say that you are still alive and that this never happened and that you would never do that. we will probably charge you with treason and kill you. she talks about how she had to live with the other in her mind. i was happy with that inter view. it is always with her. it is not humble, but there's no point in having people in and then talking through it. we got through in a way that any listener could understand.
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every time i feel that i can take a stranger and make them familiar to the listener, i am really proud of that interview. i wish we had more individuals on the show unless discussion of trends and policies and lawsuits. everything that goes through the media, i have to have very clear at stake so the program does not become a boring, specialist program. people understand why these issues are important, and some of them are really hard to tell. i loved doing an interview last year about this big media conference where during one part of it, everybody there was to write what coverage issue they wanted to talk about.
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one of them was, how should we cover alien invasion at the end of the world? do we have to talk to the aliens, or is it a case where we should just -- really this kind of thing. it was like covering 9/11. don't you have to understand who your opponent is? it was really fun. it made it really clear as a kind of metaphor for the conundrums that media faces. >> you have spoken eloquently about diversity and freedom, opening up new platforms, and yet at the same time, we are facing a tragic situation where more and more journalists are being killed, and often by governments that they are reporting on.
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i just wonder if you can comment on why there is a corresponding terrorism directed against journalist? >> the committee to protect journalists has done studies on this. what they have found is that the most dangerous time for any journalism enterprise is when democracy is being fought or redefault over or is emerging. five years ago, the place where the fewest journalists were ever killed was burma. there was not really any journalism. interestingly, a lot of the journalists that ended up on the committee to protect journalists are killed by organized crime. cases that are not being pursued by the government.
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this is serving true in russia and mexico. deals have been cut in the case of russia, or the system of justice is struggling to be effective, as in the case of mexico and russia. there tons of deaths in iraq. struggling democracy, war. there was a time when wearing a t-shirt or a press credential would give you a status, that would enable you -- we have a friend who covered the trouble in northern ireland. he would run from one side to the other and know that both of them wanted to get their stories out, and that he would always be protected.
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when you don't care about getting your story out or when you can get it out a different way, then you have no need for a western press that may not provide the narrative that you want them to. i spoke to reporters who said the big change they found was the attitude that it just did not matter. it was chaos. the drug barons that kill people in mexico just don't care. in places where journalists think they might have a chance to report something, but there are no structures to report them, no justice system or police to protect them, you will find many more dead journalists. this is a world in which there are a multitude of struggling democracies. >> we also have the example of wikileaks.
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i wonder if you can talk about your feelings about julian assange and the information coming out about how the u.s. government, despite president obama's liberal policies, has been one of the harshest administrations toward whistle- blowers. >> this is interesting. it is certainly true that the obama administration has been among the harshest on an external whistle-blowers. however, the obama administration has been -- especially this new administration which managed to cram through a whistle-blower protection act and expand it for government whistleblowers, is offering protections they have not had for decades. so he wants them, whistle- blowers, to be able to work without retaliation within the system. he is very much opposed to
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information being released willy-nilly by people inside that just ended all over the world. we interviewed assange right after the wikileaks issue, he believes that all information should be there, regardless of the possibility of innocent victims. he is a person who believes that, no matter what the consequences are, the information should be out there. a lot of the wikileaks stuff was pretty niggly stuff, people having affairs or whatever. some of it was big stuff, for sure. some of it was important stuff. the stuff that made a difference when people knew about it was when he partnered with a
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guardian, a bunch of other newspapers, the new york times, and had them vet and do stories on the material that he provided rather than just document things that don't seem to serve any purpose. the other is an entirely separate issue. the government behaved inexplicably, or the marines behaved inexplicably in removing saddam's clothing and treating him like some sort of feral child raised by wolves or something. i would say it was cruel and unusual treatment of bradley manning, whatever his verdict turns out to be. that was, i cannot understand it, and i do not know why that
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happened. i think it was marine procedure rather than government edict. >> sir? >> my name is michael chaplin. i am a former student of prof. rose. i am wondering if that changed how you reported. >> yes, it was kind of a gauntlet thrown down by ira glass, who came on and said, "npr is not defending itself against this canard. it is just not true. why do you not find out?" we went through. we had a lot of people who were critical of npr but were listeners. most people who criticized it
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had never heard it. it was just a word on fox news. they never listen to it. we got several listeners who were not supporters. they liked the content, but they were very biased, so we took apart their anecdotal experiences, and we examined them closely for some clues, and then we did some quantitative stuff based on pew and other research outlets who had attempted to evaluate media, and ira said it changed the way that he was reporting, but i cannot say it changed mine. i know that will endear me to all of our critics, but we try to disclose exactly who we are in a way that npr as a general rule does not. they like their hosts to be uninflected in their
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presentation, and we made a conscious choice, bob and i did, that if we were going to criticize people for not disclosing things, then we would try to be open books, and even as open books, we would allow ourselves to be corrected and be wrong on the air, especially when we thought it was instructive. if i say a wrong number, and he says, "actually, it is 24," and i had said 22. that kind of correction is useful. illustrative mistakes we will leave on the air. like the one you mentioned with sununu. we will let people accept us on the terms that we provide.
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we are honest. i think, and this is a slight digression, but i really do think it does come back to your question. you mentioned walter cronkite. back in the 1970's, there was some poll where he was voted the most trusted man in america. there was a similar poll done of people on the internet, and the most trusted man in america was jon stewart, so the question is why, and i think it is because he is an open book. it is no longer -- it no longer pertains to be some person speaking from some great cloud- like fortress down to the people below. the playing field has been leveled, whether me and the media like it or not, so it does
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not change substantially how i would report, because i have always tried to apply fairness and balance to our discussion, and i have never tried to pretend that i do not have an opinion about it. >> is there any journalism on television that follows a similar kind of approach to what you are doing? because the cable networks, msnbc, you know what you are watching is going to be -- of course, they do not do much reporting. it is all talking heads. fox does not do much reporting. it is all talking heads, but then there are the problems that cnn is facing. they do journalism, and they are in big trouble. >> they have not done journalism in a long time, at least not the domestic cnn. the international cnn is quite good. the domestic cnn has really gone for a lot of bells and whistles, and i cannot say that they are


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